A Lincoln club member sent me these two pages from a 10 rater National Championship at the lagoon in Hove, The date was 1962 , I myself used to play on the lagoon in the fifties as a kid of 14 years old , as it was just a few hundred yards from where we lived at the time . Norman still has this victorious 10 rater although these days he sails a I.O.M Gadget and a dragon force. In the days when he was victorious with his 10 rater Derick Priestly the M.Y.A Chairman was still in short trousers, he remembers Norman well and with great affection Norman moved from Fleetwood to Lincoln many years ago and stumbled across the Lincoln club by chance, we are very glad he did, he has become a valuable member of the team and is always available to help out whatever the task.
Norman has since Sadly passed away
A long time member of the club and an ex Phantom National Champion, Chaz Jordan made a generous contribution to the construction of “Jordan’s Landing”, a useful jetty on the lake as well as a celebration of the “Aqua Sortie”.
Here is a description of this event from Chaz himself:
During October 1966, I was in Changi Village and spoke to George, a friendly motor mechanic who was fixing a bicycle. George was 37, a Malay father of 5 children. Married to Suzette.
I explained about the forthcoming event and he suggested that I might purchase one of his very old and rusted bikes. I explained about the extra persons and the required use of the bike. He suggested a higher gear ratio to gain speed and laughed when he said, “You’re in the RAF, what about wings?” I replied, “Hey, what a good idea!” During the weeks that followed, together with my new mechanic friend, we considered just how to fit any kind of wings onto a bicycle. There were some pretty strange ideas I can tell you. I acquired several rusty old bikes and using a hacksaw, cut the frames so I had an assorted array of straight metal tubing and set about welding tubes of required lengths. The lengths of old bike tubes were on the heavy side, so I acquired various lengths of slightly larger diameter alloy tubing that slid snugly over the bike tubing so no welding was required. I just drilled holes and screwed. George continued to joke about the project, saying, “What is it, a piece of Modern Art on wheels?” It certainly looked weird. After much searching I located two 4ft x 8ft sheets of old lightweight 2-ply plywood. I butted one sheet up against the bike and immediately realised the 4ft side would get in the way of the cyclist’s knees as he pedalled, so I cut a small section out of both sheets.
I screwed an 8ft length of lightweight 4 by 2-inch lengths of wood along the plywood about 1/3 way across from one long side underneath the wing, so the 2-inch edge was against the plywood on both sheets. I screwed two x 8ft lengths of lightweight ½ inch square wood under the leading and trailing edges on both wings and screwed in a series of metal eyes along the edges. Using thin nylon parachute cord, I secured a bowline knot onto an eye at one end of both sheets passing the cord through an eye on the opposite edge and then back to the first edge and passed through the next eye making a zigzag pattern and so on until each eye had the cord passing through it and proceeded to pull the cord tighter until the sheet was curved like an aeroplane wing with the camber about one third the width from the leading edge. Clever eh? Polythene was a rarity in those days. Using a lot of masking tape, I secured the polythene to the top of the leading edge of each wing. Then folded the sheet under the wings making a small incision for the metal eyes and stretched it around the trailing edges and secured it to the top of the wings using more sticky tape. I ran more sticky tape along both sides of each series of metal eyes on both wings to prevent the polythene from tearing. Using 2 lengths of 6ft alloy tubing, I bolted these in place along the 4 by 2-inch lengths of wood under the wings and slid each tube over the projecting tubes by the handlebars. I secured the trailing edges of the wings to the initial square metal frame. I fashioned eyes into each of the ends of the wire lengths and added small turnbuckles and attached these to the eyebolts on top of the vertical tube above the handlebars. I drilled vertical holes through both wings 2ft from the outer ends and inserted an eyebolt above and below the wings. Wires were attached to these eyebolts and I tightened the wires by turning small turnbuckles at top of the vertical strut above the handlebars. I then attached wires to the underside of the wing and secured the other end of the wires to the newly fashioned forks and tightened these. I attached wires to the eyebolts on top of the wings and secured the ends to the forward most triangle point and tightened them. Other wires were attached to each of the eyebolts on top of the wings and attached them onto a rear eyebolt on the end of the horizontal tube behind the saddle down tube and tightened them. I struggled to lift the heavy bike and let it fall to the ground testing the rigidity of the wings. Everything stayed in place. I got onto the bike and rode a little in order to find if it was heavier one side. It balanced well although it was heavier at the front. It occurred to me that a rider would counterbalance. I did find however, the tyres needed to have new more robust inner tubes as there would be added weight to take account for. Using George’s car parking space in front of his workshop, I rode around getting a feel for this unwieldy contraption. It looked impressive. George suggested that he tow the bike with me on it by using his moped to see what forward speed was required to create lift.
Changi villagers were rather bemused by the scene. They fell about in laughter and the jokes about my contraption were relentless. With George on his moped and me being pulled along by rope, the front of my bike began to lift at about 25mph. There was however a small problem of weight distribution. With our team of 7 intrepid volunteers, on the rear, the tyres would have to be exceptionally robust. After much discussion, George located larger diameter motorcycle wheels with good inner tubes and tyres. That would provide a higher gear ratio. George adapted the forks to take the wider tyres. George suggested that I might consider painting it. We located some old silver paint and I sprayed it all silver. I also painted RAF roundels on top of the wings and wondered if I should put a name to it. I considered many names. As the jetty was part of Changi Yacht Club and we already had a motorboat named Cyclopes, I thought Cyclips might be appropriate. It looked really weird to say the least. Although I did take photographs, unfortunately, I later lost the lot.
The time came to enter, but having checked the tide tables, I found the tide would be on Flood, not Ebb, so I made sure my entry was first. A rising tide meant less of a drop to water level from the jetty.
I realised there was a small problem of the team. I had to find one. I didn’t have far to look. As soon as I started telling members of our Signals Section, I had more than enough volunteers, so I set about selecting members of our team. I enlisted 7 lightweight lads, an average of 10½ stone per person and two more than any other team, so we’d get an extra 2 feet in measured distance. We practised getting on Cyclips and figuring a way to hang onto each other and our intrepid pilot practised getting the balance right. We finally came up with an idea that by pushing ourselves backwards, as we would have the effect of propelling Cyclips forward that little bit extra. There was a problem: the wings were lower than both sides of the jetty’s safety rails. Having spoken to Mandor, one of the yacht club’s employees, he told me the railings could be pulled from their mountings without trouble. As there was no rule against it, although all other competitors would start from the top of Changi Hill and partly pedalling furiously or freewheeling down the hill on their contraptions, our team decided we would make a temporary 45 degree 20 ft high wooden ramp that was similar to that used in BMX stunt competitions and would position the ramp against the step leading to the jetty footway.
On the day, Changi Villagers came to watch possibly wishing the demise of Cyclips amid a lot of leg pulling and comments such as, “Hey mate, you got a pilot’s licence for that?” We were the first of 23 competitors. We winched ‘Cyclips’ rear wheel first to the top of our ramp and fastened a thin parachute cord to a stanchion to hold it in place with 2 lads holding the wings level. Our team of 7 climbed aboard. Charlie our 7 stone Pilot had been practising pedalling furiously for weeks, so was keen to get on with it. This was ‘Cyclips’ maiden and last flight, so we all hoped she would fly straight and true. It was all in the balance and forward speed at the point where the jetty ended. Amongst the jeers and wanton comments, we all hung on, tightly onto one another apart from Charlie. The cord was cut and we started down the ramp gathering instant speed. We zoomed along the 80-foot jetty at a speed similar to that of 30mph. As the front wheel hit the slight ramp at the far end, all but Charlie fell or jumped off and fell into the water. As we spluttered to the surface, I saw Charlie bent forward like a racing motorcyclist on Cyclips still in the air some 35 feet from the jetty, gliding further than anyone had glided on any bicycle before. Eventually, Cyclips plopped into the water some way passed the far end of the measuring tape. The cheering that followed was relentless amidst the Changi villager’s applause. The plywood wings disintegrated on contact. Cyclips was dragged to shore and what was left was hosed down. The contraption was only fit for the scrap metal merchant.
The measurement was estimated at 47 feet. A magnificent achievement everyone said. Of the 22 other teams, one managed a significant 19 feet without the aid of wings. There was a great deal of cheering I can tell you – and our prize? 3-crates of Tiger Beer. As one would expect we all got rather drunk. A week later, as a big thank you to George and his family, I took them all out for an evening meal at a high-class Malay restaurant in the city and kept in touch with George until I was notified that he had passed away during 1992.
A Story from the early 90’s
From 1973 to 1994, Charles (Chaz) Jordan was a member of Kent Police during which time he competed in a number of police sailing regattas in his Phantom dinghy.
He also sailed a Spearhead – known by many as the ‘banana boat’ due to it’s colour and bendy characteristics. His crew was Bob Bruce.
During Chaz’ service he had a number of unique, sailing related opportunities and the story below records his memories of one such occasion.
Following the bomb at the Royal Marine base at Deal 1989, my crew and very good friend, PC Robert Bruce, (Dover Police) and a member of the priesthood in The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints, with the help and hard work of his family, sold tie-pins at £2 each and raised over £20,000 for the families of the Royal Marines that lost their lives.
Bob was honoured in 1990 by receiving the British Empire Medal (BEM). He is a Yacht Master and was a Crew Member on the Dover Life Boat for 28 years where he was awarded the R.N.L.I. bronze medal for service during the hurricane on 16th October 1978. During the same period, Bob was also heavily involved with youth sail training at the Dover Water Sports centre, where he worked as a RYA Senior Instructor. In the expansion of the youth activities provided by the centre, yachts were purchased, the Kent Sail Training Association was formed and eventually, a Camper-Nicholson 50ft Yawl named Sally Endeavour was acquired. This vessel was owned and heavily sponsored by the ‘Sally Line” a ferry company which operated out of Ramsgate Harbour where the vessel was based.
During 1991, Bob was later involved in more money raising, which was used by members of the Disabled Police Officers Association in their efforts for the Royal Ulster Constabulary. It was decided in consultation with the DPOA committee, that a holiday be provided for children who’s parent(s) had been seriously injured whilst serving in the R.U.C. Bob provided the finances and logistics for the holiday. This included transport, flights, and finances for treats on the trip. The D.P.O.A. selected which children of the DPOA families should benefit, as many had not been on holiday for years!
Bob Bruce had organised that the Kent Sail Training Association Yacht ~ Sally Endeavour ~ a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award vessel, be used for this purpose. Ten Irish children (5 girls, 5 boys. 5 Roman Catholic, 5 Protestant) ranging from 12-19 years were selected from the families of disabled RUC officers to board Sally Endeavour ~ departing Belfast to Cowes, IoW for Cowes Week. They were to be accompanied by a serving RUC WPC as a chaperone.
It was decided that because Bob had raised the funds for the trip that he should go. But, the inevitable happened, Bob was required to work on an operation during the time he should have been at sea and as I was on leave, I was requested to stand in for Bob. I have to say that Bob was very disappointed. However, towards the end of July, Bob had 3 days off prior to the operation and we flew from Gatwick to Belfast to join the festivities and parades of the ‘Tall Ships Race’ that had just docked at Belfast before the leg of their race to Norway.
Bob and I were collected by taxi and taken to a Hotel where the DPOA had hired rooms for all. We were introduced to all members of the DPOA, the children and their families. Bob and I made our way to the Belfast docks where Sally Endeavour was moored. We met the skipper and his crew. They had sailed from Dublin in a force 7 going 8 gale. The seas were evidently mountainous. The crew including skipper were very sick. The crew were still swabbing the decks as we arrived. Their wet clothing had been strung out over booms, up halyards and anywhere there was a space to dry them. A couple of the younger members of their crew still appeared rather pale.
Bob had about 25 blue sweatshirts and 25 white short sleeved T-shirts with a ‘Kent Police Care’ motif printed on each. These were handed out, a pair to each of the crew, which included Dave Hinkley (Mate), Margaret Cunningham and members of the DPOA also Ken Hughes, an Ocean Master and skipper for the Kent Sail Training Association (KSTA) based at Ramsgate.
The new crew of Sally Endeavour took part in the Tall Ships parade through the streets of Belfast to the sound of some very loud musical bands, all wearing newly donned sweat and T-shirts. Bob had purchased a large plastic blow-up killer whale and used it as our mascot. The parade finalised at the Belfast Town Hall, where there were many speeches on very loud, loudspeakers followed by a prize giving.
On return to Sally, we followed the Tall Ships into the Irish Sea amongst a flotilla of all kinds of seaworthy craft. Hooters, whistles and foghorns, all sounding off as the Tall Ships headed north.
We returned and berthed at Belfast docks overnight to finalise preparations for our sea voyage. As there were 5 girls and 1 adult female and 5 boys and 3 adult males making 14 including our skipper, during daylight hours we were divided into 4 eight hour shifts and during darkness into 3 four hour shifts commencing at 2200 hours. We all took our turn as cook and bottle-washer and did our own thing in a kind of Karaoke. Some sang, some cited poetry or told jokes.
Apart from my tasks aboard, my main responsibility was to keep a video diary.
We departed Belfast at 1030 hours the following day. We were due to stop overnight at Peel, Isle of Man, but as the wind had eased to F3, our skipper decided that we ought to continue using the engine for extra speed, otherwise we would be late for our first race start at Cowes. As we headed south, our young crew were rather argumentative for the first 10 hours, but as I explained to them, ‘Here is an opportunity for you all to make friends’ – and they did. They all pulled their weight even when feeling seasick. Several threw up, but after the initial 24 hours everyone was good company. I volunteered to be the first Duty Cook – Cumberland Sausages, mashed potatoes, carrots and gravy followed by bananas and custard. They ate the lot and wanted more!
There was little to do but eat, sleep and be on duty. However, there was a lot of leg-pulling and general mucking about. As sun sank below the horizon, the temperature fell and there was a definite damp chill in the air. The night watch donned their warm mittens, scarves, woollen hats. Phosphorescence could be seen in the bow wave and wake. The wind had freshened to F4-5, so we cut the engine and eased the sheets so our heading was due south on a broad reach. We clocked between 5 – 6.5 knots.
During our second successive night, as we passed Cape Cornwall we kept ‘The Brisons’ rock to starboard, we hardened up onto a port fetch towards Land’s End, making sure Longships Lighthouse was always to starboard. As we reckoned that we had Longships about 3 miles to our Starboard quarter, we hardened up onto a close haul and heading of 170 degrees. Sailing at about 5.5 knots we cleared Gwennap Head and noted the tide was with us and we made good time across Mount’s Bay towards The Lizard and began to ease the sheets onto a fetch. As the sun began to rise, the wind strength dropped from F3 to F2, so we used the engine to assist. Within one hour of the sun coming into view, the wind dropped from F2 to F1 and then calm. The sea was almost smooth; not quite a millpond. Seagulls swooped beckoning for scraps. We motored along making 7.2 knots over the ground, whilst the sails flapped limply.
It was during these quiet periods that Ken, Dave and myself gave verbal and visual seamanship lessons to our Irish visitors including rope, wire and rope to wire splicing plus knots and lashing, maintenance to yachts together with marks and night time navigation sounds and signals, etc.
We entered Falmouth and moored to a pontoon. As soon as we had made everything Shipshape and Bristol fashion, most of the young shipmates went to explore. Whilst they were gone, Skipper Ken, Dave, Margaret and I went to the local supermarket for provisions. I had never shopped like that before. 6 of that, 7 of something else, 3 dozen eggs, 20 loaves of bread, 40 cans of baked beans, etc., etc. Three shopping trolleys were used.
Later, everyone went to a Falmouth Restaurant to sample fine Italian cuisine, paid for by Bob’s fundraising. They had fully relaxed by this time and everyone had a jolly good time. On return to Sally we were all in good spirits. Many of the crew stayed awake until the early hours of the morning.
Just as dawn was breaking, we set sail, well, rather motored out of Falmouth to Cowes. The sea was calm and glistened as the wake created patterns on the oily surface. Towards early evening, having passed the Needles about 3 hours previously, we moored alongside several other yachts at a marina on the River Medina, near to Clarence Road, East Cowes, Isle of Wight. Everyone on board was excited. Our young crew zoomed off to explore the town.
It had been arranged that, as the Sally Endeavour was part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme and that His Royal Highness was present at Cowes, he might pay us a visit. In the event, although aboard the Royal Tender, he did not come aboard, but cruised by just looking.
Sally Endeavour was never designed for racing. She has cruising lines all over – heavy duty masts and rigging with heavy sail cloth, nor did she did not have a folding prop. The fuel tank was not emptied. The water tanks were almost full. There were provisions, the crew possessions, books, charts, landlubbers for a crew, the helm responded sluggishly and she was heavy.
We signed on for 3 races. The first race we failed to finish in time, so we were deemed to have retired. The second race, we hit the mark ‘Brambles’ fair and square with a resounding clang much to the amusement of G&T sippers on their waterborne palaces who were anchored some 200 metres up tide of the mark. We were instantly disqualified. One or two of our young crew were visibly disappointed in our performance.
Ken decided that with previous racing experience, I should be tactician for the next race. That evening, I got 3 lads to swim around and under the yacht with sponges, wiping the slime of the hull. According to our scrubbers, they removed quite a bit. They were in the water for 2 hours. They did a fine job! Having signed on we left our mooring for the start of our third race three hours early in an attempt to whip our crew into some sort of shape. We practiced tacking and gybing. They were keen and soon got the hang of it. About 20 minutes before the start, I positioned Sally Endeavour about half way between Cowes and the mainland. I handed the oldest lad a megaphone to stand at the bows facing forward and asked him to repeat loudly whatever I told him. The start appeared to be on a port bias and the large racing yachts began to gather for the start with 10 minutes to go. We were on a starboard fetch with the tide under us, we headed from outside the start line towards the outer distance mark. With 90 seconds to the start, we were about 50 metres outside the line and my lad shouted “STARBOARD!” Came the startled reply, ‘You can’t do that!’ “Oh yes we can. We are racing and if you do not tack, I fear we will hit you amidships!” There followed a great deal of shouting for water to tack from the other yacht.
As the leeward yacht tacked onto a starboard tack a gap opened between the leeward yacht and the mark, we tacked onto port and started. There was a great deal of expletives from the other yacht.
We finished and our young crew went to sign off. Although 9 of the 36 starters had retired, we were last, but 27th out of 36. We had actually achieved a result! Our young crew cheered! They were well pleased.
The last evening of the Regatta we left our mooring to watch the fantastic firework display. Having returned to our mooring and spent our last night on board together, we motored over to Gosport and moored at the Camper-Nicholson yard where we disembarked. We had enjoyed 16 days and nights with a great group of Irish lads and lasses. Bob arrived driving the Force coach and was waiting to take our crew to Gatwick for the flight back to Belfast. Every one of the crew said their goodbyes and left, hopefully knowing their world is now a better place. One or two said how much they had enjoyed their trip and they now wanted to move to and live in England. Praise indeed.
Blue Arrow Challenge
Blue Arrow’s “America’s Cup Challenge”
A Story from the 80’s
From 1973 to 1994, Charles (Chaz) Jordan was a member of Kent Police and competed in a number of police sailing regattas in his Phantom.
Chaz built his Phantom from scratch during the winter of 1979-80 and took part in the Devon & Cornwall PAA Champs at Exmouth in 1983 coming 5th overall and receiving the Maiden Trophy.
This is the story of his further experiences starting in the summer of that year.
Having competed in the PAA Dinghy Champs, 1983, I had missed the UK National Phantom Sailing Championship held during the September, due to work. I then read in the Yachts & Yachting magazine that the Phantom Nationals had been postponed due to excessive winds at Grafham Water after 2 races. Y&Y stated the Championships were now to be held over the remaining 4 races at Grafham during October 1983 – and this, I was able to attend.
During the two-day event, there were 18 Phantoms and the wind rarely abated to below F5 (and that was overnight). It blew like hell both days, unbelievably at Force 5-7 touching 8 at times. Every boat capsized at some time or other and some damage occurred during this speedy event. My Phantom was one of 6 that were undamaged. I recall capsizing 5 times during the 1st race and 3 times during the following race. Day 2 was nearly as bad. 1st race = 5th, 2nd race = 2nd, 3rd race = 4th & 4th race = 2nd. 5,2,4,2 – my number on joining Kent Police; what a coincidence. I was absolutely delighted. I had won! They told me consistency is the key.
Following a couple of attempts to get me onto the Phantom Committee, they eventually succeeded and I became Class Secretary from 1986 to 1989.
During my time in office, the Phantom Association decided to assist the British Team for the America’s Cup Challenge, by making a small donation in return for a video tape about the ‘Blue Arrow’ Cup Challenge yacht based at Falmouth. About 4 days later, I received a telephone call from David Redfern (Press & Publicity Officer of Blue Arrow at Falmouth) inviting me join the British Team at Falmouth during October 1988.
I drove 300 miles hotfoot from Maidstone to Falmouth in high winds and driving rain. I found a B&B just 300 metres from the Blue Arrow hangar. The hangar remained closed due to the F8 gales and continual driving rain for the rest of Monday, throughout that night and for most of Tuesday.
Wednesday 12th October started dull and overcast with virtually no wind. I made my way down to the hangar and was met by David Redfern. I was introduced to:
- Derek Clark (Design Coordinator & Civil Engineer who coordinated the Blue Arrow design program from the start. He is a veteran of the Victory campaign and sailed as Tactician on the Kookaburra in Australia, which came close to winning the America’s Cup in Perth. In 1976 he was selected for the Olympics and in 1980 he worked as a tactician on the Mayhem in the Admiral’s Cup race)
- Tony Castro (Designer. Has won many awards, including 2 World Championships, the One Ton Cup and the Quarter Ton Cup and was a core member of the Blue Arrow Team)
- Ed Dubois (Designer – recognised as one of the world’s best yacht designers)
- Jo Richards (Designer – won an Olympic Medal sailing a Flying Dutchman in 1984)
- Leo Mason (Official Photographer for the Blue Arrow Team and twice winner of the British Sports Photography “Photographer of the Year” award)
Blue Arrow’s “America’s Cup Challenge” yacht was designed with speed in mind.
Having only had a brief glimpse of the Blue Arrow yacht on TV, I stood there in awe as the hangar doors were opening, revealing what at first impressions was a huge but sleek, exotic bird.
Because of the radical design, Blue Arrow named the yacht “Radical”. She is 65ft LOA and because of the very slim forward entry, she creates minimal bow wave or wake. Radical is a foil-stabilised mono-hull, which has a 2.583ft beam (2ft 7ins). At the outer ends of the 60ft cross beams (which look remarkably like aeroplane wings in order to create minimal drag) are vertical forward facing pylons (similar to keels), which dip below the surface of the water. Attached to these are the key to the whole concept – Horizontal foils that trim like aeroplane ailerons that provide lift and down-thrust as required. Radical is built of carbon fibre for strength and maximum lightness. I was informed Radical only weighed 1.5 tonnes. A hydraulic ram can move the crossbeam fore and aft up to a foot either way. Coming out of the rear of the hull are struts supporting a kind of a trampoline of netting, (water below) which acts as a crew platform. Towards the stern is a small square cockpit, which allows a person to stand inside the hull, with the sole responsibility of keeping Radical level, aided by a digital readout display and a rotary pump handle, rather like the one that faces the driver of a Blackpool Tram. He has to turn the handle one way and then the other which alters the angle of the horizontal ailerons by just a fraction of a degree.
One of the most striking things about Radical is her 80 ft wing mast, 4ft at the widest part. It was built at the hi-tech works of Paragon Composites, Totnes. Martin Smyth, Chief Stress Analyst at British Aerospace in Bristol (one of the world’s leading authorities in composite structures) was largely responsible for the design and construction of the mast.
With the basic design finalised and the hull units under way, the Design Team agonised over their computers, about whether the whole vessel was going to be controllable in real-life. Like ‘Concorde’ and ‘Kittyhawk’, it would fly on paper, but how would it translate to the sea in Falmouth Bay?
I feel extremely privileged to have been invited aboard ~ I stood there, trance like, at the sheer elegance and beauty of the Radical.
Whilst I donned a splash-suit in the Blue Arrow colours, I watched Radical being craned into the water dock-side, followed by the 80ft wing mast. The crew busily rigged Radical and within 10 minutes of her touching water, she was properly rigged with full sails. I joined 9 Blue Arrow employees in an accompanying motor launch that followed Radical out into Falmouth Bay. The weather had improved and the clouds were dispersing but the wind was only about F0.5 and it was sunny and warm. As we followed in the wake of Radical, I was standing next to the launch Coxswain; I saw we were touching 4 knots. ‘But there’s hardly any breeze.’ I thought. I was able to take several photographs, most of which were unfortunately blurred due to the vibration from the marine engine.
Having followed ‘Radical‘ about the Falmouth sound for 2 hours, the launch eased up to the port quarter. David Powys (Crew member of the defending Kookaburra Team 1987) was aboard Radical who called out, “Mr. Jordan, we would very much like your company, step aboard please!” Butterflies or what?!! Stepping aboard was something else. I transferred my weight from a solid launch onto (just) netting which sank under my weight and Radical appeared to tilt towards me. I scrambled uphill towards the hull. Because of the relatively slow speed through the water, the ailerons did not have the required lift or down-thrust required to keep the yacht from capsizing, so I was asked to use my weight (approx 17.5st) as ballast. It was like a balancing act. As I was nipping from one wing to the other attempting to help stabilise the yacht, I failed to notice a patch of wind coming across the water towards the yacht. The sudden acceleration from 3 knots to about 8 knots knocked me off my feet and I landed in a heap amid laughter from the crew. And that was without the Jennaker!! I took my turn, cranking the ‘tram wheel,’ turning the wheel this way and that. Full concentration was required.
Ed Dubois who was aboard asked me several nautical questions including, “If we were to ask you to design a new British yacht for the ‘America’s Cup’ what would you build?” Taken aback somewhat, I described a maximum mono-hull, width under America’s Cup rules (then 25ft, LOA 85ft, LWL 70ft), raked bow with flair to support lift through larger wave patterns, hull shape so-n-so, mast so-n-so, sail, keel shape, etc., etc.” He paused, and then said, “Have you been into our computer room?” I answered, “No.” Later, when we had been returned to shore, I was invited into the Team computer cabin and shown a number of screens. As the computer hummed into life, images of various yachts became visible on the 4 screens. I said, “Like that!” and indicated a yacht very similar to that which I had described on Radical. “We have been working on that idea for some years and you come up with a very similar idea within 30 minutes?” I learned later that Michael Fay had built a similar craft, but I suppose it shows I was thinking along the right lines. It’s nice to know that the guys at the top are genuinely interested in the thoughts of the guys towards the bottom. My two hours aboard passed too quickly and I was required to leave, making room for another lucky visitor.
David Redfern assured me that I am the only civilian other than Blue Arrow employees that has been invited aboard Radical. Blue Arrow’s hospitality was first class and I thanked them all very much – indeed!
Before I left their base, I was given a splash jacket in the Blue Arrow colours with their logo thereon and various brochures. I later received a photograph from Leo Mason and the Blue Arrow Team that hangs proudly in my study.
Leo Mason took a photograph of Yvonne Couldrey, Marketing Manager
for Blue Arrow and myself whilst aboard Radical.
Kent Police 1973-1994